Saturday, November 19, 2016

Doobie Decibel System – Tight Harmonies Create Harmonic Resonance

Improvisational ‘friends night’ evenings featuring local up-and-coming bands have revitalized the Bay Area music scene. "Says Roger McNamee, reflecting on the formation of Doobie Decibel System, “Those of us who live in the Bay Area are blessed to have venues by Bob Weir and Phil Lesh. San Francisco hadn’t been interested in up-and-coming bands for a long time, but Sweetwater and Terrapin Crossroads completely changed that.”

It was in this context that Roger first met Jason Crosby (Assembly of Dust, Robert Randolph, God Street Wine, Lesh, Weir), who had recently relocated from the East Coast. He invited Jason to sit in with Moonalice at Sweetwater. This, in turn, led Jason to Roger’s home, where they shared a revelatory moment after they opened a book of Beatles sheet music and arbitrarily performed “Two of Us.” During this impromptu porch performance that Roger’s wife, Ann, who has a Ph.D. in music theory, noticed was there was something about the pairing of Roger’s voice with Jason’s, where a harmonic resonance was created that the ear heard as a third part.

That casual porch session led to a new, more formal musical partnership. The name of their duo, a riff on the library classification system, was Jason’s own term for the method he employs to keep track of the songs he performs with so many different acts.

While Doobie Decibel System began as a two-piece, the group performed at this year’s Lockn’ as a quintet, with ALO guitarist Lebo, longtime Weir drummer Jay Lane and Bay Area mainstay and multi-instrumentalist Pete Sears. (DDS also gigs as a Trio with Lebo.) The band’s shows are archived on its website and, as Roger notes, in all three iterations, “Tight harmony is an essential part of what we do. The fundamentally acoustic foundation of the music is quite distinct from Moonalice, which is pretty clearly a jamband.”

The crowd at a sold out show at Sweetwater last night got to rock out to Doobie Decibel System perform as a Trio as they supported Tom Hamilton's American Babies – who were joined by Bob Weir. The show was broadcast live on the web as well as on the Moonalice Facebook page

Those that missed yesterday’s off the hook show can watch the video below, and can also catch a second show that will be broadcast live tonight, 19 November, at 9pm PT. Those that attend in person are not only guaranteed good food and a fun time at a great venue, they will also receive the beautiful poster shown above from well-known Bay Area poster artist, Alexandra Fischer, a member of the Haight Street Art Center.

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